WRF enables AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to formalize unique field conservation partnerships with individual National Parks, Marine Sanctuaries, and Wildlife Refuges and Tribes. Customized Zoo-Park Partnerships (ZPPs) and Aquarium-Sanctuary Partnerships (ASPs) connect ex situ husbandry with in situ wildlife recovery and contribute the veterinary care, health interventions, habitat improvements, and community-based coexistence that help wildlife survive.
There are currently 17 ZPPs and ASPs who share replicable methodologies via a collaborative process.
WRF works to fund wildlife veterinary equipment, medications and vaccines, husbandry supplies, fencing to prevent human-wildlife conflict, materials and equipment for habitat improvements and invasive species removal, and other items vitally-needed by the ZPPs for successful wildlife protection and restoration.
Albuquerque Biological Park + Valles Caldera National Preserve
With designs and materials supplied by Valles Caldera National Preserve, Albuquerque Biological Park staff are building wooden boxes for deployment in the Preserve that native bats can use to securely raise their young and bees can use to colonize and produce honey and pollinate plants.
Dallas Zoo + Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
Dallas Zoo veterinarians are on-call to provide critical life support when whooping cranes that call Aransas home in winter are fitted with leg band-telemetry devices that track the safety of the cranes on their migratory route north to Wood Buffalo National Park. DZ volunteers deployed in boats also pull out old lobster traps ghost-fishing the crabs cranes love to eat.
Detroit Zoological Society + Isle Royale National Park ZPP
DZS supports genomic work on the 14 wolves reintroduced to Isle Royale National Park, to track inbreeding and the genetic consequences of homozygosity—when a wolf possesses two identical forms of a particular gene, one inherited from each parent, which spells trouble for a small wolf population. In relation, DZ staff collect moose bones and hair in the park for studies that ascertain moose population viability in relation to the new predator, and conduct a new interpretive program within the DZS Cotton Family Wilderness wolf exhibit reflecting habitat features of Isle Royale.
Naples Zoo + Big Cypress National Preserve
Transmitters surgically implanted in female “Scout snakes” by Naples Zoo veterinarians enable Big Cypress National Preserve biologists find and remove pythons hiding in the swamps. Up to 17 feet and 140 lbs. in size, these invasive pythons (former pets released illegally in Florida) are consuming much of the prey of the endangered Florida panther. Trail cameras with added security features (to prevent theft) track the movements of panthers through the park and monitor for signs of deadly feline leukomyelopathy and orphaned cubs.
Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo + Badlands National Park
NEW Zoo staff night-monitored black-footed ferrets in Badlands National Park to assist in vaccinating them for sylvatic plague, a disease the ferrets get from sharing tunnels with their prey, the prairie dog. The Park spreads vaccine-containing bait amongst the prairie dog colonies and dusts their holes with parasiticides that kill off the fleas that carry the plague. The NEW Zoo-Badlands ZPP focuses on five Great Plains species that are ecologically inter-dependent and also exhibited at NEW Zoo.
Oakland Zoo + Glacier National Park
The Goat Lick underpass under Highway 2 in Glacier National Park provides a secure passageway for grizzly bears following prey that consume minerals from the gray clay lining the corridor. Oakland Zoo is fundraising for the repair of fencing that keeps humans safely out and channels wildlife off the road where trucks and cars travel at high speeds. The ZPP also funds GPS collars and culvert trap repairs supporting grizzly bear health and reproduction monitoring and interventions in case of human-wildlife conflict.
Red River Zoo + Wind Cave National Park
The RRZ director and staff night-spotlighted for black-footed ferrets (BFFs), helping Wind Cave National Park carry out measures to implant microchips to monitor for survival, age, and movements. RRZ raised funds for BFF vaccines through the sale of BFF-inscribed wristbands at the zoo and the Park’s gift shop. RRZ’s new Pride of the Prairie will connect bison viewed by the public in Fargo to the Park’s genetically-valuable herd.
San Francisco Zoo + Yosemite National Park
From eggs and tadpoles collected at Yosemite National Park, San Francisco Zoo has raised thousands of California red-legged and Mountain yellow-legged frogs for release—at an age old enough to survive—back in their park homes. The Zoo also monitors for the deadly Chytrid fungus and studies the personalities of the frogs that are fitted with telemetry devices before they are released. The hope is to nurture frogs with the tendencies to survive in the wild.
Texas State Aquarium + Padre Island National Seashore
Most all marine species found on Padre Island National Seashore are part of ZPP efforts with Texas State Aquarium to recover injured or diseased animals for hopeful return to the Gulf of Mexico. TSA veterinarians perform surgeries to remove fish hooks and tumors from sea turtles, staff patrol the beaches for sea turtle nests alongside rangers. TSA maintenance crews responded quickly to disassemble a remote and expensive sea turtle egg corral structure just before Hurricane Hannah hit.
Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center + Yellowstone National Park
The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center’s rescued grizzlies test coolers and trash cans by trying to break in, and the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee certifies those containers that hold up. Bears of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem get in trouble when rewarded because human food and trash are left unsecured. The ZPP’s “I am Bear Safe” efforts will turn visitors into stewards by training them not to “train bears.”
Moody Gardens, Inc. + Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Teams of Moody Gardens’ working divers sample deep ocean corals to assess health vulnerabilities and remove abandoned fishing gear damaging coral reefs.
Tennessee Aquarium + Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Collected from the Flower Garden Banks exhibit, eggs and larvae of fish species found in the Sanctuary are raised to maturity as the aquarists master new techniques for replenishing fish in the Gulf, should populations go extinct.
Texas State Aquarium + Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
TSA staff rehabilitate injured and diseased sea turtles that migrate through the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and are developing ways to restore corals in damaged deep reef areas.
Aquarium of Pacific + Channel Islands NMS
Raising white abalone and giant sea bass to sizes big enough to restore populations off the California coast, Aquarium of the Pacific (AOP) is characterizing fish needs and the habitat features of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary that can productively host future populations.